[Python-Dev] 2.3rc2 IDLE problems on a Win2000sp3 box

Alex Martelli aleaxit@yahoo.com
Sat, 26 Jul 2003 12:54:15 +0200

A guy on the Italian Python mailing list has just installed 2.3rc2 on top of 
his existing 2.2 and IDLE doesn't start.  Specifically when he gives an
explicit command at the DOS Box prompt of:

python.exe "C:\Programmi\Python23\Lib\idlelib\idle.pyw"

he sees from Task Manager that 2 python.exe instances start, one
disappears after a few seconds, and on the DOS Box appear the

Python subprocess socket error: Connection refused, retrying....

Python subprocess socket error: Connection refused, retrying....

Python subprocess socket error: Connection refused, retrying....

Connection to Idle failed, exiting.

*HOWEVER* IDLE runs fine IF he starts it while connected to
the internet!  This clearly points to a configuration/installation
problem with his Win2000 SP3 box and I'm working with him to
pin that down -- see if his sockets work at all when he's not on
the net, etc, etc.  Nevertheless I'm worried by this problem: no
doubt it's something he needs to fix by correcting his Win2000
installation and configuration, *BUT*, just as doubtlessly a huge
number of Windows machines out there must suffer from
similar misconfiguration issues.  If on all of those misbegotten
boxes IDLE 1.0 silently refuses to start with no clarification nor
error-message at all to the user as to WHY (typical newbies
won't THINK of running idle.pyw at the prompt, they'll keep
banging on icons and getting silent failure as a result), I predict
a flood of help request to the main and help lists, AND many
potential new users simply giving up on Python without even
such help requests -- that would be pretty sad.

I can't reproduce the problem myself -- I've tried deliberately
breaking my Win/98 configuration but local sockets keep getting
opened happily, and I have no Win/2000 box to try things on.
Should I nevertheless try bug-reporting or even hacking a patch
that puts out some kind of visible error message to the user if
socket connection fails, even though I can't try it out myself?
Does anybody agree with me that this doubtlessly trivial issue
has the potential to do Python substantial damage, making it
critical enough to address between 2.3rc2 and 2.3 final...?